Is Google Really Getting Worse? + Weird Niche Sites About Arcade Sticks and Emojis

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Welcome back! We’re here with another episode of the Niche Pursuits News Podcast, where Spencer and Jared highlight what’s happening in SEO, content creation, website creation, and beyond. 

Listen in if you want to hear the latest about Google, SGE, unique side hustle strategies, and some weird niche sites.

The first news item this week that Spencer and Jared discuss is a recent report that says that Google’s results are getting worse

. It’s based on a year-long study of product review queries.  

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How did Google respond? What exactly did the study assess to come to this conclusion? And what do they consider “low quality?” Spencer and Jared have many thoughts on this topic, so tune in to find out whether they think it’s legit or not.

The next topic up for discussion is Google’s SGE. A recent article states that 94% of Google SGE links are different from organic search results. So now we have about 10 links in the SGE results plus another 10 from organic search and most are not the same. 

What does this mean for publishers? Is this good news or bad news? How does this affect you if you’re ranking first in the organic results but have an SGE pack ahead of you? And what does this mean for you if you’re not appearing in organic results? Are there 2 different standards at play here?

Talk about Google SGE continues when Spencer and Jared discuss an article about the impact of SGE by industry, which reveals that the sector most impacted by the SGE is healthcare as those queries have triggered the most responses. In contrast, finance is at the bottom of the list.

What’s interesting about the difference in performance between these YMYL niches? And what conclusions do Spencer and Jared come to as they analyze the SGE performance statistics by industry? 

As for Shiny Object Shenanigans, Spencer goes first and talks about his new YouTube channel, where all of his podcast episodes will now live. Although he was initially worried that people wouldn’t be able to find the channel, he was pleasantly surprised to see that the first episode published there got over 1200 listens in just over 24 hours.

With over 350 subscribers already, Spencer’s confident that he made the right decision to separate the channels and that people will still be able to find the podcast episodes.

When it’s Jared’s turn, he talks about a strategy he’s using for his Weekend Growth newsletter that’s allowing him to increase his agency business by providing a new service. Essentially it’s a side hustle on top of a side hustle! It’s definitely an idea that anyone with their own email list and business can adapt to their niche.

He also gives an interesting update on the Amazon Influencer Program and his family. Check out the episode to hear the latest developments.

When it comes to Weird Niche Sites this week, Spencer comes with a sub-niche of a niche with his site: The Arcade Stick. Arcade sticks can be customized and plugged in just about anywhere. The site, which is just a DR8, could be getting around 100k visitors per month, which is pretty interesting considering how niche it is, plus It’s monetized on Mediavine.

When it’s Jared’s turn, he shares a site called Emoji Combos. Although it’s in beta, it still works perfectly. This DR43 site ranks for 140k keywords and gets over a million organic visits per month. 

What unique keywords is it ranking for? How is the site monetized? And how much money do they think the site is making per month?

And that brings us to the end of another episode of the Niche Pursuits News Podcast. Now you’re caught up on all the latest SEO news and, hopefully, you’re feeling inspired and motivated to continue to work on your side hustles.

See you next Friday! 

transcription

Spencer: Hey everyone, welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. I’m excited to do another episode of this week in niche pursuits news. We’ve got some news items. We got some weird niche sites. We got some other, uh, side hustles that we’re going to talk about a little bit. Uh, of course I got Jared with me. Jared, how are you doing today?

Oh, very well. Very 

Jared: well. Good to be here, Spencer. 

Spencer: Good, good. You know, uh, I’m up here in Washington State and, uh, it is the dead of winter. Uh, if, if I were to look out my window right now, uh, it is snowing really hard. Uh, it’s about 20 degrees outside. It’s supposed to snow five to eight inches, uh, today. Uh, and you let it slip that you were about to go out for a jog here, uh, in just a little bit.

And I got really, really jealous. So, what’s the weather like there? 

Jared: It’s a little chilly today. It’s actually about 62 degrees Fahrenheit. So, uh It’s a little chilly out here. I might put on, you know, a 

Spencer: long sleeved shirt for my run. California chilly. That’s rough. That is rough. So you’re gonna just go outside.

You’re gonna just go for a jog. We’re getting to mid 

Jared: January. Yeah. Mid January. You want a nice lake nearby. I’ll go for a run around the lake. Um, it might, the wind might pick up, we might hit five miles an hour of wind off that lakefront, uh, might dip into the fifties if we go too long here on the podcast recording, you 

Spencer: know?

Oh man, well I’ll try not to, you know, go too long so you can enjoy that nice sunny California weather. Thank you. You know, there’s, there’s some perks, what do they say? People move to California for the weather. Yeah. Uh, this is It’s the time of year where I am very jealous, very 

Jared: jealous. We had our company call or, uh, my marketing agency, we had our company call every Thursday and that’s the day we record the podcast and the first five minutes was everyone around the country sharing all the different snow stories and who snowed in and how long they’re snowed in for.

So it’s quite a week of weather right now around, uh, at least around the United States. 

Spencer: It is. It is. There’s a lot going on. I know there’s a lot of storms hitting, uh, this week. So I expect that schools will either have a big delay or cancel tomorrow. So I might have a whole household, uh, tomorrow. So, but that’s okay.

The news goes on right here. We are. The news goes on. Uh, Google doesn’t stop serving up search results as webmasters. We don’t stop trying to rank in Google. Uh, and wouldn’t you know it, but the very first news. Uh, story that we’re going to cover is a large study that has come out and said Google is getting worse and supposedly, uh, these are some scientists out of, uh, I believe it was Germany, um, that have proven that according to their study, Google is indeed getting worse.

And, uh, so this, uh, story was covered in. Pretty much all major publications. So I just pulled up the one, uh, that is in mashable mashable. com, uh, covered this story, it says, it’s not just you Google search really has gotten worse according to this German, uh, study. And this, it’s kind of interesting because, uh, this is coming kind of from the scientific community, people that have actually dug into the, the data and the stats.

And according to them, their conclusion is that, uh, the Google results have gotten a little bit worse. Um, they posed this question, you know, they looked at, um, Google being DuckDuckGo, uh, for a year, it says, across 7, 392 product review queries, right? So that’s all that they focused on. And they. Uh, basically came to the conclusion that a torrent of low quality content, especially for product search, keeps drowning any kind of useful information in search results.

Um, and that a lot of it or some of it was outright SEO product review. Now, uh, a Google spur spokesperson did, um, respond to this mashable story and said that, uh, the study doesn’t reflect the overall quality and helpfulness of search. Uh, they emphasize that the study only focuses on a narrow set of queries, namely product search.

Um, anyways, and it, it kind of goes on, you know, Google of course says that, Hey, search engine results are actually getting better. We disagree with this study. Uh, so I don’t know if you want to jump in, but I was going to kind of go over to the study itself. Um, it’s, it’s pretty lengthy. Um, if anybody wants to read it, you know, it’s a longitudinal investigation of SEO spam in a search engine.

So I’m going to pull up my dictionary to fully understand what that means. But, uh, they looked at a lot of data and, uh, at the core, I think, um, the data sets they looked at are represented in these. 12, 16 graphs. Um, they looked at things like number of affiliate links, the URL depth of the page, the, I don’t know what function word ratio means exactly.

Uh, the main content word count, the FLEISH reading scale. I do know what that counts. Um, uh, word count, uh, image count, other things. And, uh, all of these graphs are over the rank in Google. So, uh, basically it’s showing that there is an inverse relationship. If I look at the flesh grade between, um, the flesh grade, you know, 8.

5 to 8, right? The grade level, like how complicated is the reading of it? So I think I’m reading that right that, you know, if you’re around 8 or 8. 5 grade level reading. You know, you have a higher chance of ranking and then, um, the, the results get lower, um, as you go further into Google. So, um, there’s a lot, it’s interesting, but my big question.

Is what did they judge as low quality right in their, in their conclusion? Um, they use the word, let me see if I can find it low quality of lower show signs of lower text quality, right? Although we cannot predict the rank of individual pages pages at the population level, we can conclude that higher ranked pages are on average, more optimized, more monetized with affiliate marketing.

And they show signs of lower text. Quality. Now, that’s what I don’t understand. And they do as far as I can tell. Um, they only mentioned the phrase lower text quality twice in the study, both of which are in the conclusion. So there seems to be this mysterious thing of lower text quality, uh, that is ranking.

That would be my big question. What are they referring to? How did they judge that? Uh, that sort of thing. So any high level thoughts from you, Jared? 

Jared: Yeah, a couple things here. This is interesting. Some of those graphs you’re showing. I got an email from my, uh, my alma mater this week, uh, UCSD, and they were, they’re discontinuing my major.

Uh, say that what it will about the major I chose 20 plus years ago. But, um, those charts are basically what I majored in. So I was review, I was kind of looking over some of the classes I took from college and reminding myself about all these types of, uh, these types of charts and data sets that I would review.

Um, that’s a bit of an aside though. I think you’re right. I mean, here’s the, the, the, here’s what I highlighted, which is, I think in part and parcel with what you’re highlighting, um. So here’s a quote, I believe, from the Mashable article, which is obviously summarized in this PDF, and it says, The study in question, uh, this one we have on the screen, showed that Google results did improve, quote unquote, to some extent, between the start of the researchers experiment and the end.

Still, they found an overall downwards trend in text quality in all three search engines. So, how can both those be at the same time? How can results improve, but there be a downward trend in quality across all three? Inconclusive is a bit, maybe just have what to take from that. In my opinion, certainly there’s, there’s that angle for it.

And then I, I like the fact that there’s a study out that almost validates what you and I’ve been saying on the podcast for a while. Like it does feel like the search results have gotten worse, but to only study product reviews feels like a big miss. And then to go out and say. Results are worse across all of Google.

I mean, again, I hate to give Google a little bit of a way out, but it feels like a real slight, like we know that product reviews make up a minuscule percentage of what Google represents. So those are my two big comments on it. 

Spencer: Yeah, no. And that’s a good point. I mean, their study was only on just a little over 7, 000 product review.

Uh, queries like even Glenn also, you know, individual, he did, what was it? It was at least 10, 000, right? So his study was bigger, um, you know, than this huge, you know, apparently scientific study. Um, the other interesting thing of note, it was in here and they listed the different, um, I will see it here shortly, the different types of pages that were ranking.

Yeah, I saw that. Yeah. Uh, here we go. Um, And, uh, I, I like how they give all these categories to, you know, they’ve got Amazon, YouTube, uh, Pinterest, New York times, the Spruce best reviews. Dot guide, you know, they’ve got, uh, several different websites listed and then they categorize them and they don’t specify, right.

They do not specify how they gave this category. So I assume some, uh, German guy sat down and said, this looks like spam. And so it’s, you know, we’ll highlight it in green. So, you know. Some get the tag of authentic review site, and they don’t say what that is. You know, New York Times, Tom’s Guide, and PCMag made that cut, right?

Um, other things, they just have listed as magazine. I like that. The Spruce, New York Mag, Forbes, Insider. These are magazines, right? Uh, and then, uh, Spam is bestreviews. guide, uh, JustGear. Um, uh, cherry picks reviews. I have no, I haven’t gone to those websites, but to just, and then web shops, right? Anyways, I, a lot of, uh, the findings in the study, I think are probably suspect based on the fact that they didn’t share how they categorized all, all of this information, all of this 

Jared: data.

And some of them are wrong. I’ve talked, I think on the podcast before about how much I like serious eats, um, as a, as a publication and whatnot, but they’re not a magazine. And if I, if you go down there and scan down there, I think they have them tagged as a. Yeah, it’s a magazine there down near the bottom.

So, you know, I mean, they’re, they’re just an online publication. Um, and so it’s, it’s first off, we don’t know how they picked them. Second off, they definitely put some of the wrong category. 

Spencer: Right. Yeah. Um, CNN, the magazine house, I don’t even know 

Jared: is CNN and CNN is a news site. Are they, I realized we SEO happening, but I didn’t know it got around to us, uh, to CNN.

Spencer: Yeah. So. Yeah, to say the least, a lot of this is questionable. Um, again, you know, their conclusion of, um, you know, there’s a lot of lower quality text that is now ranking. I don’t know what lower quality text means. So, um, I do like the effort by, you know, perhaps scientists or somebody to put together a in depth study, but Um, a lot of the things like, like you mentioned that, Hey, the, the qualities improved a little bit of late, but overall in our study, Google is still getting worse.

You know, how do, how do we make those two comments jive together? It’s, it’s, 

Jared: it’s fun to have kind of like what you brought up at the beginning. It’s fun to have a third party study that’s outside of our industry, right? Like at first I hear that and I think, Oh my goodness, this is great. It’s just not just a bunch of SEO studying SEO results at the same time, though, you can see threads of kind of why it’s important because the nuance we understand about this industry does come through when we investigate things.

Whereas when a, uh, kind of, you know, random German, um, um, like institution or educational place, uh, evaluates it, they, they don’t have that nuance. 

Spencer: Yeah, exactly. So, um, it’s an outsider coming in, you know, trying to make an inside look. Um, just interesting thought we would share it, you know, it’s a news item that that’s what we’re here to do is just kind of share what’s happening in the news.

And so maybe we’ll leave it at that, uh, and see what happens over time with it. But, uh, another thing that has been in the news, I mean, boy, we have talked about it a lot this year is SGE search generative experience. Um, It’s happening more and more frequent on more and more queries. Google is not letting down with their plans to continue rolling this out.

Uh, and, uh, search engine land recently put out a stat here that said, uh, which I found very interesting, uh, 94 percent of Google s g e links are different. From organic search result, the study finds. Uh, and so, uh, basically, uh, if you get an SGE results, um, most of the time, those links are all different from what you would get in the natural.

Search results. Very interesting. Um, SGE showed for 86. 8 percent of the keywords in this analysis. Overall, SGE showed about 10 links per answer. Uh, but only about 4 unique links. Um, and I think they mean 4, 4 unique websites 

Jared: maybe? Yeah, unique domain links. I was going to clarify that as well. That was my understanding.

So different links from the same website, I believe is the, the way, the way that that should be phrased. 

Spencer: Yeah, exactly. But, uh, you’re right. 10 links per answer is quite a few. So now we’ve got 10 links in the SGE answer. We’ve got, you know, call it 10 links in the traditional first page of organic results, right?

And most are not the same and most are not the same. So is this. Is this good or bad for us as publishers? What do you think? 

Jared: Well, I think our next news topic might answer that question But i’ll answer your question as though I don’t know the next topic we have by saying Glasses have full says more opportunities to get on the front page and we know that if you’re not the front page, you’re not going to get seen at all.

Period. In the story. Frankly, if you’re not in the top three results, you’re really not going to get many clicks. So, uh, glasses have full says wow. Okay. Good study that shows that there’s potentially hope now that S. G. Is landed. On links inside of it that, that, that presents some opportunity. And if you’re not on the first page organically, there’s also opportunity to now be in SGE.

So that’s glass half full, glass half empty says, how are we going to figure out how to optimize for SGE if it’s vastly different than optimizing for organic search results? 

Spencer: And if you happen to be ranking number one in organic search results, and all of a sudden you’ve got an SGE pack right ahead of you, what does that do?

Your traffic, 

Jared: which 86 point, whatever percent have an SGE 

Spencer: pack ahead of you? Yes, they do. It was only 13. 2 percent of keywords failed to trigger an SGE content. Um, and does it say, 

Jared: where’s the part on. It broke down. Oh, that’s in the next article. Sorry. These next two articles we’re getting a bit confused.

Or at least I am. You’re not. Um, I think this is interesting. So, uh, SGE, I wanted to ask you about this. SGE appeared for 86. 8 percent of the results, right? So that means that box was there. But, for 65. 9 percent of the time, the generate button version of SGE was what was presented. And that was much more often than the show more button.

And we’ll have that in our next article as well. But I did want to bring it out here because I think that’s interesting that we’re seeing that they’re not auto generating it for the vast majority of the SERPs, whether that’s because it takes too long or because people don’t like it, we don’t, we don’t really know.

Or maybe another 

Spencer: reason. Yeah, yeah, no, that is interesting. I mean, they’re continuing to test and it could be that they’re finding whatever results they’re looking at. People are coming back to other search results more often, 65. 9 percent of the time they’re, they’re having the, the generate button, uh, instead of, you know, the, uh, show more.

is what it’s called. So, uh, very interesting. Um, the study itself, it was from a thousand commercial keywords, um, across various 10, 10 different categories that people can see on screen, ranging from automotive finance, food and beverage to travel and hospitality. So they kind of dipped into, I would call all the major sort of.

Where do you 

Jared: think they’re getting all these results for SGE if they’re not pulling them from what’s in there? I mean, you know, we, we don’t know. I get that, but it just, it seems weird. Like if you have an, uh, an algorithm that you spent 20 plus years building and defend to its core that it is the best representation of what’s online.

Why would you not pull from the best representations that are online? 

Spencer: That is a good question, and maybe part of this goes to the corporate nature of Google and how large they’ve become. I mean, how many thousands of employees do they have? How many different departments do they have? Right? The search team is probably completely different than the AI team.

Generation team, you know, the AI, um, Gemini team, uh, you know, perhaps it’s completely different. And so they’ve developed a new model and now they’re just sort of, Hey, we should plug in our model into the surfs and say, okay, we’ll add this widget. I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s like the two teams don’t talk to each other.

You know what 

Jared: it feels like? It feels like I showed up in Washington, uh, to, to, to, to, to visit and it’s snowing. So, you know, I can’t get together with Spencer and I say, you know, you’ve been, you live in this area, tell me your top 10 restaurants because we can’t hang out tonight. So, you know, where should I go?

And you give me a list of top 10 restaurants. And the snow is coming down hard, so I say, I’m just gonna go to the restaurant right down the street, and I find you there, even though you didn’t recommend, and I say, what’s, what’s going on, and you’re like, oh, well, I live by a different set of recommendations for myself.

Spencer: Yeah. Ah, that’s right. Uh, two, two standards, two different standards. 

Jared: I just, it seems weird, but maybe we’ll learn more. Obviously, SGE is so new, but it just seems a bit off. I think you’re exactly right. AI and organic results. You know, we know it’s a big company. We certainly learned a lot of that from the, um, antitrust lawsuit and the fact that there are clear distinctions in departments, so I think you’re probably onto something there.

Spencer: Yeah, and their, their AI models are newer, right? And evolving and learning. Um, and so there’s going to be testing to probably see, Hey, are these SGE links and results better than our organic results? And maybe there will be some, some crossover eventually. I don’t know. Uh, okay. Let’s get to this last topic that also is related to SGE results.

Right? Um, this study looked at exactly the Google S. G. E. Impact by industry and some of the emerging, uh, emerging features. So there was an analysis done of one billion queries across nine industries. Uh, and it reveals that health care is the most Impacted by S. G. E. Um, and where do we get the numbers?

Here we go, right? This is showing us that, uh, the number of queries that triggered an S. G. E. Result. That’s what 

Jared: I think is super interesting, too. Yeah, it’s an interesting there. 

Spencer: At the top is healthcare with 76 percent of the time a SGE result was triggered and down at the bottom was finance only 17 percent of the queries and you know, we’ve got all the other industries in between.

So what are some of your thoughts? It sounded like you had a couple of things to say about it. Oh, I 

Jared: have so many about this one. We should have this one first. Maybe so. Maybe not. I think it’s just Jared’s into it. Uh, well, first off, I mean, This data study showed me for the first time that I can think of, like, obviously things can change, but man, oh, man, does finance not look like a good industry, a good website, a good, uh, niche to go into now that we have learned that health care and some other ones have.

Literally six to seven times the AI impact that it would in 

Spencer: finance. Yeah. You know, what’s really interesting about this? Sorry if I’m cutting you off, but you know, you’ve got EAT or, um, you know, these, these, your money, your life, um, niches, right. And. I would group both finance and healthcare in that right money, your life, 

Jared: I mean, travel makes sense sitting at 30%.

We thought travel would be a little insulated from AI because it requires kind of on the ground experience combined with what you write and what you produce. But finance at 17 percent that blows my mind. It 

Spencer: does because, uh, you would kind of think that, Hey, maybe the reason it doesn’t trigger is because Google doesn’t want to tiptoe.

Yeah. You know, kind of, you know, get into something or recommend something that they shouldn’t. But if healthcare is 76%. I wouldn’t want AI 

Jared: recommending healthcare 

Spencer: recommendations. It’s like, yeah, what should I do about this? You know, growth, you know that I got and it’s it’s a bit like 

Jared: the medic update almost spun out of that.

Right from 2018 was bad advice about about medical topics to begin with. Really? And it’s spun out into this idea of YMYL. And so we look back to 2018. You, you would feel like, Me, uh, me, uh, uh, uh, healthcare would be down with, with, with finance. I, I totally 

Spencer: agree. Yeah. That, that seems like it would be the case, but, uh, it is not, it is not the case.

Um, they’re, they’re comfortable showing healthcare 76% of the time. The next highest is e-commerce at 49% of the time. So it’s a significant, almost 30%, um, greater. Uh, percent of the time that it, that it’s shown for healthcare. So, um, and what is this? Oh. And then they give a breakdown by state, whether it’s collapsed.

Uh, I can almost, I can’t even read that. Yeah. Um, here we go. Um, opt in. Is that what it says? Opt in. What’s an opt in? I don’t know. Opt in, 

Jared: I believe is where you have to click to get the expanded. 

Spencer: No, that would be collapsed. Is it, maybe that’s the generate button. Um, 

Jared: what is it? Yeah. No, I had this in my notes too, to talk about.

Opt in is when users must request an AI generated answer. Collapse is when a truncated AI generated answer is shown. None is when a query does not trigger SGE. 

Spencer: Okay. Okay. So, so opt in is the generate button. Basically, do you want an AI answer and you want to SGE result? Yeah. 

Jared: And this is where, you know, it’s easy to look at the overall percentages, which are touted, but if you break down the overall percentages, I also find that a bit fascinating again, would love to get your take on it.

Let’s look at healthcare. 76 percent of queries had it, but 70 percent were collapsed versus 17 percent required you to request an AI answer. The next one down, as you mentioned, is e commerce. Yes. 49 percent of queries. Okay. Okay. Generated SGE, but only 25 percent collapse compared to 70 percent and 72 percent were opt in versus 17%.

Look at restaurants. Restaurants was 96 percent opt in. And so I think it’s fascinating to see the differences that they’re clearly. Either testing or learning about whether to generate a collapsed sge e or whether to ask the, the, the, the reader to generate it on their 

Spencer: own. It’s just funny because, you know, you were talking about restaurant recommendations here, Google’s not comfortable just right off the bat saying, Hey, you should go eat at these restaurants.

Well, as they should, they’ll tell you which pill you should take, you know, right away. Nice. Uh, . So anyways, fascinating, fascinating results. Um, to say the least, I. Um, no, I don’t know how to get back to my screen where I just was. Um, but, uh, yeah, it’s, uh, interesting to follow along. Uh, cool to see the industry breakdown.

Does this make you decide to go into a certain niche? You know, if you’re already in healthcare, it’s like, you know, I don’t know that you can do much about that. Um, but we’ll see where this all ends up. It’d be interesting to see a study in a year from now and how these have changed. I imagine it will change quite a bit.

I do like 

Jared: how the three, uh, we basically talked about three studies here today. And what the first one, this one was with a billion queries. And the first one we talked about was, was 7, 

Spencer: 000. Yeah. And that’s the one that got all the press coverage. And that’s the one 

Jared: that got all the press coverage, 

Spencer: man. I could do a 7, 000 query.

Study on my own. I mean, you could do that on Twitter. You could do that on Twitter. I mean, that’s really not that, but, uh, here I am talking about it and not doing it. So kudos to the German researchers. They did it. We just talk about it and complain. So there’s that. Um, okay. Very good. So that’s, that’s the main news, I guess, that we’re going to cover today.

Um, we are going to talk about a couple of shiny object shenanigans that we have going on. I, you know, it’s kind of a second week in a row, I guess, that it’s going to be. Slightly different. Um, we’re not really talking about, you know, Amazon influence or, uh, well, maybe we will talk about it a little bit on agenda 

Jared: item that 

Spencer: I can share.

Okay, we’ll squeeze that in there. We can do that. Um, but, uh, you know, I wanted to talk about, uh, the new podcast channel. One more time here. So, uh, I mentioned here on this podcast, of course, that I had created the new channel and well, yesterday I released the very first interview episode, the podcast interview with Amy Aitman.

And I was so worried that because there was no subscribers on the new channel that nobody would find this interview. Nobody would listen. And I wanted to give Amy, you know. Her, her time to shine here as best as possible. Um, I’m happy to say that it’s gotten over 1, 200 listens in just over the first 24 hours, which is very solid.

Um, you know, it’s kind of at the lower bandwidth of, you know, maybe lower than average, uh, on the old channel, but I would call that very good going from my established YouTube channel to a brand new channel. Very first video ever posted getting 1200 views in the first hour, uh, makes me feel good. Makes me feel good knowing that, Hey, I think we’re going to be all right.

People are going to still find the podcast. They’re still going to listen. Um, of course I did email my list about it and I linked directly to the YouTube video and asked them to subscribe. I shared it on social media, so I gave it a little extra love, uh, to make sure people found it, but, uh, I’m feeling like.

I’m on the right track, uh, separating the channels. I don’t think is going to cause too many problems going forward. 

Jared: 365 subscribers. I’m looking at it right now. Yep. A little lighter than I was hoping for, but I’m never the optimist. I think I went on record last week and said, we get a thousand. No problem.

Spencer: Yeah, um, in the first week and I’m, you know, I’m wondering when do we start that clock? You know, do we really start it from, uh, when we recorded our episode last week or do we start that clock from, Hey, I just released the first episode yesterday. Um, well, I, I think, I think within the week, uh, by the time I released the next podcast episode next Wednesday.

I think we’ll be the thousand spot because, um, I mentioned it once in one email, a couple of tweets, right? Uh, and that’s pretty much been it. So if you are listening to this podcast episode, wherever you are, um, please subscribe to the new YouTube channel. It’s the niche pursuits podcast channel. All of Jared’s interviews, all of the news episodes are going on that new channel.

Uh, the URL is pretty easy to remember. Just go to youtube. com slash. At symbol niche pursuits podcast. It’s just at niche pursuits podcast. And, uh, or if you just search it on YouTube, you’ll find it hit the subscribe button that way you won’t, won’t miss any episodes. Uh, I’d love it. Jared would love it. He puts a lot of work into all the interviews and we just want to make sure people find that.

Uh, that they’re not waiting on the old channel, hoping to listen to the next interview. So 

Jared: and it’s worth mentioning that the podcast Gets listened to on audio platforms way more than it gets watched on youtube anyways, and and don’t get us wrong YouTube is a viable channel for the podcast, but it is a smaller channel, according to what I understand, than a lot of the audio ones.

You 

Spencer: are correct. You are correct, yep, because there’s Spotify, there’s Apple Podcasts, there’s, you know, everywhere people, any app, you know, that people have, um, that gets a lot more listens. And so that, Does not change if you are listening on Spotify or Apple, just continue to do that. But if you were watching on, on YouTube, right?

We just want to make sure that percentage of people continue to get that. So we didn’t like Amy too much. Yeah, no, absolutely. She’s, she’s doing great. Uh, you know, she’s getting plenty of listens. It’s a good interview. Plenty of love from the audience. She’s a great personality too. I love, uh, Amy. I’ve met her in person a couple of times and, uh, yeah, she’s fun to hang out with.

You’ve met her more than me. Yeah, I guess so. Um, we’ve, we’ve been to the same conference, uh, at least twice. Yeah. Uh, and so it’s cause 

Jared: I never leave this, uh, I never leave this box here except 

Spencer: it’s all virtual. Yeah. Yeah. That room other than, you know, your late afternoon runs in the sunny California, sunny 

Jared: California weather.

She should work outside really is what I should do. Although The setup wouldn’t be quite 

Spencer: as dialed in. You know, we should do an outdoor podcast. I’ll have snow coming down. You’ve got the sun next to you. You’re going to be like, 

Jared: Jerry, can you please share the screen? I can’t feel my fingers anymore. 

Spencer: It’s for real.

Yeah. Uh, but that’s it for my little side hustle project. What do you got going on? 

Jared: I thought I’d share a fun little story for people, you know, and about how side hustles can build on side hustles. Um, I wasn’t going to talk about this this week because it just came about this week. Um, and it kind of came up out of nowhere.

I’ve been doing an email series on weekend growth this entire month on schema. First series I’ve ever done. It was encouraged to do one by Tony Hill. I’m podcast who said that, um, He found that he got a lot of success and engagement when he kind of talked about the same subject matter for a couple of weeks in a row.

Um, and so I’ve been doing this series and I emailed out part one, uh, the first week of January, part two, the second week of January, I was getting emails back from people saying like, man, that’s a long read on. Signed up this kind of schema or that kind of scheme. Like, do you guys just do that at your agency?

And I’m like, well, no, it’s really easy. I just showed you how to do it. And they’re like, I don’t want to do it, you know, or it’s not really easy for me. And I’m like, well, of course not. That’s the whole reason I have an agency. If everyone, you know, had the time or the energy or the expertise to do it all themselves.

I wouldn’t have a business this week. I thought let’s just throw something together to help people out. Let’s actually send the email this week. But instead of having to field emails about it, let me just put something at the very bottom that said, Hey, if you need help setting up this schema, just punch this, you know, just just reply and we’ll get you started on that.

And so, um. Within a couple of days, we have a little schema service set up at a 201 creative. Um, you know, it’s not, uh, it’s not selling like gangbusters, but it’s certainly a, a four figure, uh, revenue already on it, uh, just from this week. And it just reminds me like. You know, you get those little whims sometimes and we talk about shiny objects syndrome and getting distracted, but this wasn’t hard.

This wasn’t difficult. It really literally was just talking to the team and putting a line in there and giving people a way to sign up for it. And it’s something that we already have a process for internally. And so sometimes it’s interesting to think about those little ideas we get. And leaning into them and, um, uh, you know, uh, again, uh, this is just one of those little things.

That’s a nice little side hustle income, uh, if you will, but it generated out of a side hustle and it’s just another little thing to bolt on. And I, I, I just am so curious how many of those are available to us every week as we go about what we’re doing. And, you know, we have that thought, but we don’t lean into it or we get distracted or we’re too busy or we don’t write it down or we don’t just jump on it.

That’s kind of the whole. Theory behind our influencer program last year is we’ve talked a lot about how we definitely didn’t do it very strategically, but we did one thing. We just jumped on it. 

Spencer: Yep. I think it’s fascinating that you bring this up in my mind. It’s a very niche idea, right? And so here on the niche pursuits podcast, you’re taking what it sounds like.

You had, um, sort of the schema set up as maybe part of a larger package or when you do a comprehensive. You know, involved optimization of a website. You’ll, you’ll implement the schema process. Like you said, you’ve already got this. Um, your team knows how to do it. You’ve got your SOPs for that already.

And now you’re just kind of niching that out a little bit into its own little product that you can let people know. Yeah, we could do your overall website, but we could just do that, you know, for you now. So I think that’s cool. 

Jared: We literally went into our SOP and we just grabbed the part where we optimize in the first month for a website.

I just hit command find. Went to the schema section, pulled that out and created a new SOP. Now it’s just for schema. 

Spencer: Yeah. It’s like, um, what do you, what do you call it? It’s like a tripwire offer almost. Right. You know, it’s, it’s a little bite size thing. It’s like, Hey, you know, we’ll get our feet wet. Um, let 201 creative do this schema set up.

And, uh, what would be interesting, I’m sure you already track, but it’s like how many people go from that to like, Oh, you could also do X, Y, and Z. Right. And that’s of course, probably the end goal is that’s even better. 

Jared: Hopefully we can show value and help people out and whatnot. But yeah, so that’s just, you know, I don’t know.

We share about these little side hustle things. That’s a side hustle of a side hustle. 

Spencer: Yeah. Yeah. Weekend growth side hustle. A little weekend 

Jared: growth side hustle. You’re right. Um, I teased about the Amazon influencer program. I haven’t done, I actually looked it up last night. Um, because of this story and I have not done a video in exactly one month.

So not a single video has been uploaded. I hadn’t even logged into my account. From one month ago today 

Spencer: Wow, so okay a little bit different than december in terms of logging in every you know Yeah, as soon as 

Jared: that nose dive i’m like cool. I’ll see you after the holidays That’s right. But I mean Fun funny enough.

It’s earned 16 or 17 hundred dollars in the last 30 days Again, I haven’t even looked in that time period. But the reason that I was in the account was because my wife got her Amazon Influencer account approved yesterday. 

Spencer: That is awesome. Yeah. That’s huge. Okay. 

Jared: She, she, she kind of leaned into all this, you know, I’d be like, Hey.

Uh, when are you and the kids, are you guys going out anywhere? Cause I got to record some videos around the house and you know, and so you’re like, what are you doing with your time? And so I started bringing her in on it, showing her and talking to her about it. She got excited about it. So, um, it qualified with a YouTube account that had just under 3000 subscribers.

And so we’ve talked about like, As the year has gone on, is it harder? Is it easier? What are the metrics? And that’s not definitively the metric, but I just thought I’d share that. That’s what it qualified with. Um, I posted on Twitter and Carl Broadbent actually responded and said that he. He seems to see that it’s a lot easier to get accepted with lower TikTok numbers.

So, I don’t know. I haven’t tested that, but that’s what he said. Anyways, so, uh, yeah, I don’t know. I had a couple of people comment. Gareth Boyd was commenting like, oh, is it going to be a little competition? A little family competition now? I don’t know. She’s more competitive than me, so she’ll probably beat me on that.

I don’t 

Spencer: know. Well, we’ll have to see how she does, you know, if she goes all in and if she gets a thousand videos, you know, in a year, um, maybe we’ll bring her on the podcast. You can interview your wife as an Amazon influencer, um, that I will let you do that show. I know I would tune into that show because there would be so many asides and facial expressions that would be like nonverbal communication that I would want to see.

Uh, that would be fascinating to watch. Um, you know, the other thing, uh, about that is like, okay, what videos, what products does she review? Does she just take everything you already reviewed in your house and do her own review? 

Jared: Well, I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s going to do. I mean, why not? I hadn’t thought about that, but yeah, I mean, there might be some products you go and you’re like, well, that’s Jared.

And then that’s his wife, Sarah. But no one will ever know. 

Spencer: Well, you know, if all our videos are ranking above yours, and your earnings suddenly drop to zero That looks like the 

Jared: same kitchen the last video was in. Yeah, that’s right. 

Spencer: Oh man, that’s like, kind of like taking over multiple positions of the Serps, right?

You know, first page of Google, you got Same website or you own multiple websites on the first page. Just dominate 

Jared: the, I literally hadn’t thought about any of these things until we started. 

Spencer: That’s the first thing that came out. I was like, is she going to review all the same products? Um, why not? Probably.

I mean, what else is she going to do? I don’t know. Go to grandma and grandpa’s house, I guess. Um, 

Jared: so anyways, there’s fun, a couple of fun updates. 

Spencer: I love it. Good stuff. Uh, all right, let’s move on to our weird niche sites. Um, as always, we found a couple of weird niche sites that are out in the wild. Uh, this one is, I, the one that I have is, is fascinating to me because it’s kind of like a sub niche of a niche.

Um, maybe three levels deep. I don’t know. A sub, sub, sub niche. Um, you know, you’ve got the overall gaming industry and then you’ve got, um, like, Arcade games or PC gaming. And then you’ve got competitive PC gaming and then you’ve got joysticks and then you’ve got competitive arcade style joysticks. You know, I don’t know how many subs that is, but, uh, my weird niche site is the arcade stick.

com and, uh, yeah, the arcade stick. com Sharon on the screen here, uh, that. I’ll be completely honest. I don’t know if I should be embarrassed that I didn’t know what this is, but I had never realized that you could have like custom built or even arcade controllers, like of your own, you can plug these into either your PC.

Uh, they are compatible with playstations, depending on the. Stick, I guess the arcade stick, uh, it can be X Box switch. Even it looks like PS4 PC, right? All these things that they’re, they’re massive. They sit on your lap and you’ve got every button that’s like almost a dozen buttons on there. Yeah. Um, so.

And it’s kind of cool because they also do custom artwork. Like this website, actually, it looks like you can buy, um, you know, this arcade stick, there’s no prices on here. I think because they custom build them all, they kind of ask you, okay, what do you want on this? Do you want artwork? What size? Um, what color?

I don’t know the difference between Japanese and Korean joystick. Um, you know, I’m out of the loop here. And then you get it, you request a coat quote and get, um, you know, get the price based on that. So I have no idea how many of these they’re selling, you know, they don’t share numbers or anything like that, but I can see that, uh, They are ranking for some keywords.

So if I go over to a Ahrefs, uh, the arcade stick, uh, as you know, around 20, 000 or so with a little dip here, um, organic searches per month, they rank for keywords like, um, okay. Hitbox, neobox, arcade stick, snack box, nitro, nitro, anyways, or micro. All of these are, I assume names of, um, arcade sticks that are quite popular.

Uh, and, uh, Boy, uh, and then finally, the last stat that I will share here is SimilarWeb. Um, it shows that they’re getting monthly visits of about 100, 000, uh, visitors a month. So, kinda cool that, like, this very sub niche, this thing that I didn’t even know existed, Um, is getting about 100, 000 visitors per month.

And, um, Whether or not they’re like crushing it in sales. I don’t know, but, uh, very cool. I could see how people that, Hey, if you’re gaming or competitive gaming, you’re really into this stuff and you want to deck it out with. You know, special artwork and customized, you know, style, it’s, it’s a cool product.

Um, just one, I probably won’t ever buy, but, uh, maybe when I retire, maybe that’s what I’ll get into is, is, uh, hardcore gaming here. 

Jared: It’s a, it’s a DR eight. Um, and that’s really good traffic for a DR eight monitor, uh, monetized on media vine. Um, so it does have ads. I mean, so it’s getting income from a variety of sources it would imagine.

I, uh, dropped a link for you in our agenda. That’s interesting. If you want to pull that up as another way that they’re generating revenue. I don’t know how much that’s making, but I find that interesting. Um, you know, and oftentimes 

Spencer: we’ve got to go ahead, buy me a coffee, the 

Jared: artistic, and I was going to say, oftentimes when you see that, not always, but you know, oftentimes when you see that you see, People that have a bit of a community going, right?

Like people who feel a loyalty to a brand who feel like, Hey, this isn’t just someone out to make money. This is someone who’s actually helping me. Right. When you see that set up and people taking advantage of it. And you know, you did see it dip a bit with some various updates over the last six months.

But at the same time, it’s done pretty well for being a DR eight site. And, you know, speaking to some of the things we’ve, we’ve talked about the podcast over and over again, like it does seem to have a following of people who are pretty passionate. The further niche down you go. And this is Nishtown, the more likely you are to get something like that.

Spencer: Yeah, I agree. So, um, fascinating, right? They’ve got, um, they do have some, uh, articles, right? Some different things, you know, types of joysticks, gates, right? They, and I, I, they explain the difference. So I could, could learn what the difference between a Japanese and Korean joystick are, uh, is. So they’ve got different, uh, content marketing that they’re doing.

Um, but yeah, just a interesting audience, interesting niche, kind of cool. Uh, before the call, you were saying that, uh, I believe what, what was his name? Brandon with, um, uh, what’s his video game? Retro Dodo. The Retro Dodo. Yeah. That was on, um, he probably is familiar with this and is kind of laughing right now as we fumble our way through understanding all the lingo, but kind of a cool, uh, sub niche.

So very cool. 

Jared: Very cool. Where’d you find this one? 

Spencer: Uh, well, somebody may have slipped this one to me under the door. Um, yeah. Curious the 

Jared: story of how you personally landed on this one. 

Spencer: That one was, uh, that one was handed over to me. Otherwise I, I’m so outside the realm of this. I probably never would have seen it.

Fair enough. 

Jared: Good, good. 

Spencer: Okay. What, uh, weird niche site do you have for us today, Jared? 

Jared: Well, mine was also brought to me, um, I actually wrote it down this time. I apologize to those who have never written it down because I get them from, you know, we all get them from various sources, but, um, this one was from, uh, from Chris with, uh, with Niche Safari.

He’s got a great YouTube channel. Oh, yeah. And he messaged me and said, Hey, this one’s pretty good. It is called EmojiCombos. com. Um, so you can tell we’re talking about an emoji website here, uh, obviously. And so basically it, it says it’s still being constructed. It’s in beta. It’s pretty clear about that, but in a nutshell, you can use this search box.

And then you, there’s also a whole variety of features that you can use. I didn’t use it extensively, but you know, uh, just their most popular page is heart. So maybe type in heart here and you can kind of see what it does, but it, it does more than just Give you emojis like so many do it kind of gives you these varieties of of emojis and combines them and you can make them fancier and you can add things to them and you can, uh, it’s very interesting.

It’s almost like emoji art rather than just straight emojis. Like you can get online. 

Spencer: Interesting. So every sort of combination of emoji that includes a heart in it is pulled up in this page is quite long. I could scroll. 

Jared: For a long time, forever, basically. I mean, let’s be honest here. Um, a few metrics on the site.

Uh, it’s a dr 43. It has, uh, about 140, 000 keywords. Um, uh, it has a traffic of 1. 3, 1. 4 million organic. Wow. Visits a month estimated by Ah rest would be curious what the similar web is. This is something that could get decent social traffic could get decent direct traffic. Um, It did fine through the helpful content update.

I mean, maybe a tiny dip. Maybe. Uh, it, it, it ranks for, I found this interesting, maybe I’m not very emoji. It ranks for a lot of emojis that are like heart emoji copy paste. Right, so if you go to keywords, like a lot of the keywords they rank for are very copy paste and I never would have thought of that.

And it just goes to show like, you know, yeah, knowing these are very interesting. 

Spencer: Does that make sense? I mean, so people are just trying to use it, uh, either on a website or somewhere, right? They want to put in some fancy heart emoji, like where can I copy and paste that? So I can just copy it, put it in my message and make it look like I did something cool, but really I just copied and pasted it.

Jared: So here’s an interesting one. I put the link down in the agenda, but you can actually make your own emoji. Um, now, it’s not a very good looking emoji, but you can draw right there, Spencer, and make an emoji however you want. You can clean it, uh, up, you can add padding, you can, yeah, you can do all sorts of stuff.

You can make 

Spencer: different colors. Right, I got the dollar symbol there. There we go. Clearly. Obviously. Yeah. 

Jared: Uh. I thought you said something. I thought you were doing an S for Spencer. 

Spencer: Uh, you know, that could be the SH, right? That could be a dollar symbol or like an H overlaying it. Your initials. Yeah. Yeah. An H over top of it.

It’s not great. It’s not great. But I’ll 

Jared: try. I mean. The ads are not prominently displayed, especially not at the individual pages. You know, you’re back in that heart page and there’s banner ads, but they’re very subtly placed. They’re not, um, they’re not overwhelming any stretch of the imagination, but you got to figure like, I’m just, I’m just curious, you know, we know that the way programmatic ads work and the way that these load, like the longer time, the longer you scroll, the more ads load, the more your RPM goes up.

And I mean, how many ads, how many ad units do you think you’ve loaded as you’ve scrolled down here, just looking through all that, all the heart emojis. 

Spencer: Right. Yeah, I mean there’s dozens if I keep scrolling for sure 

Jared: and millions of page views even if the RPM is fairly low because of the Audience segment it probably loads a 

Spencer: decent number of ad units.

Yeah, I think so good little business to be in 

Jared: right? I mean, they’re they’re definitely making five figures a month. I would say 

Spencer: what do you think? Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely And once you’re up and running boy, I I mean, I guess it’s uh Yeah, pretty good business. You’re ranking. Maybe you create some more emojis, um, combinations, etc.

So, uh, interesting. I, I don’t know that I’ve seen a website quite like this before. 

Jared: I looked to try to find any information about them. I couldn’t. I mean, there’s no footer. The homepage is sparse to say the least. I’m sure I could have dug and dug and dug, but, um, you know. Uh, with the limited time we have, I was not able to find much about, uh, about who is behind this site.

Yeah. 

Spencer: Very cool. Good find. Uh, thank you, Chris, from, uh, Niche Safari for, uh, sharing that one. So, there we go. I guess we’ve, we’ve gone through the news here, Jared. Um, we have gone through our side of our, sort of our, uh, side projects. We’ve, we’ve shared some weird niche sites. Hopefully given some people, some things to think about, um, whatever that might be, right?

We share some of the things off the top of our head from, I always hope that people have some schema to emojis. That’s right. Take your pick, uh, or just get an arcade stick and go play video games, one of the other. We were all over the map today. Yeah. You know, speaking of the weather outside, I think maybe just playing some video games sounds just about right to finish off my evening while you go do your run out, 

Jared: speaking of the weather outside, beautiful trail, I’m sure we finished this with enough time for me to squeeze a run in.

Spencer: Well, our job here is done. Then, uh, Jared’s happy. So we’re all happy. Very good. Thank you everyone for listening to the niche pursuits podcast. Uh, and if you are, please go subscribe on YouTube on the new channel. It’s at niche pursuits podcast. That’s where all the interviews and all our news episodes will be posted.

If you want to watch the video, if you’re happy with audio, you can get that anywhere on Apple, Spotify, or anywhere else. Thank you everybody for listening in. 

Jared: Have a great weekend.



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